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This paper describes the use of Intelligent Agents and Ontologies to implement knowledge navigation and learner choice when interacting with complex information locations. The paper is in two parts: the first looks at how Agent Based Semantic Technology can be used to give users a more personalised experience as an individual. The paper then looks to generalise this technology to allow users to work with agents in hybrid group scenarios. In the context of University Learners, the paper outlines how we employ an Ontology of Student Characteristics to personalise information retrieval specifically suited to an individual’s needs. Choice is not a simple “show me your hand and make me a match” but a deliberative artificial intelligence (AI) that uses an ontologically informed agent society to consider the weighted solution paths before choosing the appropriate best. The aim is to enrich the student experience and significantly re-route the student’s journey. The paper uses knowledge-level interoperation of agents to personalise the learning space of students and deliver to them the information and knowledge to suite them best. The aim is to personalise their learning in the presentation/format that is most appropriate for their needs. The paper then generalises this Semantic Technology Framework using shared vocabulary libraries that enable individuals to work in groups with other agents, which might be other people or actually be AIs. The task they undertake is a formal assessment but the interaction mode is one of informal collaboration. Pedagogically this addresses issues of ensuring fairness between students since we can ensure each has the same experience (as provided by the same set of Agents) as each other and an individual mark may be gained. This is achieved by forming a hybrid group of learner and AI Software Agents. Different agent architectures are discussed and a worked example presented. The work here thus aims at fulfilling the student’s needs both in the context of matching their needs but also in allowing them to work in an Agent Based Synthetic Group. This in turn opens us new areas of potential collaborative technology. Details



Brayshaw M., Nganji J., Gordon N. (2017) Collaborative Hybrid Agent Provision of Learner Needs Using Ontology Based Semantic Technology. In: Zaphiris P., Ioannou A. (eds) Learning and Collaboration Technologies. Technology in Education. LCT 2017. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol 10296. Springer, Cham


Julius T. Nganji's Profile


Julius T. Nganji, PhD

Researcher, passionate about digital accessibility & usability and improving user experience.

Adjunct Lecturer

Department of Occupational Science & Occupational Therapy
Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto



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